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The potential for behavioral health-focused on-site and near-site employer health clinics

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A number of on-site and near-site employer clinics offer additional services to help improve employees’ overall lifestyles. These programs are often focused on helping those employees to quit smoking or becoming more physically fit. Services to help employees with mental health issues are usually part of employee assistance programs (EAPs), provided as an optional benefit. According to some experts, it may be time to include those behavioral health services as an integral part of the on-site or near-site health clinic.

Dr. Phillip Franklin, MD, MPH, HealthStat Medical Director, writes that research “suggests that the negative impact of poor employee mental health can be mitigated when these issues are addressed early on.” Mental health not only affects the patient but also impacts others in the workplace, particularly in “environments where tight deadlines and low work-life balance are the norm.”

According to the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC), “approximately 80% of persons with depression reported some level of functional impairment because of their depression, and 27% reported serious difficulties in work and home life.” Of those, “only 29% of all persons with depression reported contacting a mental health professional in the past year, and among the subset with severe depression, only 39% reported contact.”

Behavioral health issues can affect absenteeism and productivity as much as physical health issues. Providing access to behavioral health services in an on-site or near-site clinic and removing the stigma from such services can vastly improve the overall health environment in the workplace.

One concern of the employee seeking healthcare services for a behavioral health issue may be that stigma that is so often associated with mental health. Elation Health is dedicated to supporting on-site and near-site clinics with the electronic health record (EHR) technology they need to ensure that all healthcare records are secure, so physicians can deliver quality healthcare and patients can be assured their records remain confidential and safe.

Research has shown that patient engagement improves healthcare outcomes. The convenience of the on-site and near-site employer health clinic may encourage more employees to seek and becoming actively engaged in treatment for their behavioral health issues. Asking the right questions of the clinic to ensure it is providing the services needed by the employees is critical to determining whether behavioral services are appropriate and can be provided by the clinic.